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What Happens Next: Newborn Editing Workflow

“Why in the world would it take 2-3 weeks to receive my images?” Has this go through your mind? Don’t lie, it has. I know because I was once a mom who had no clue about photography and what it entailed and it went through my mind. So, because I believe that teaching & showing is way more valuable than just saying, “I have to process and edit them,” I want to take time and actually show you what happens after I’ve snapped some pictures. See, a lot more goes into this job after the shutter has clicked.  Let me go ahead and break it down…


An Average Newborn Session:

-Shooting time is about 3.5 hours
-Uploading and culling images takes about an hour
-Editing takes about 3 hours
-You know that pretty decorated box containing USB you received? Yeah, I made that and it took me some time…maybe 30 minutes per USB.
-Add 15 minutes to get to the post office to mail it.
-O’ and then I have to update my accounting records which probably takes all of an hour because I hate doing it.
-Resizing and uploading to FB takes another hour..not because actually doing it does but, because I always get sidetracked.
-Uploading your gallery and emailing it to you…about 30 minutes.
-So, before ordering prints/canvases/etc.. I’ve already invested over 10 hours per newborn session.
(Confession: I may or may not spend 4 hours a week shopping for props too. I. CANT. STOP!)

10 hours per session may or not be the normal but, its what it is for me. Did I mention that (besides 2 days of mothers day out) I’m also a stay at home mom to a  3 year old ? Yeah…  so, lets just say that a consecutive 10 hours to work doesn’t exist. Either way, a 2 week turnaround time is totally average and should be expected. (Make that 3 during the holiday rush.)

Now, I know, I know….  “You don’t have to do all of that.” But, yes I do. Its part of the service I provide. My final product is what you are investing in and I want you to absolutely LOVE it for years and years to come.

So anyways, the point of this blog is to show you a bit of the magic happens after I take the picture. Forget all the other stuff… editing is where its at. While taking a good picture to start with is most important (getting it mostly right in camera is key) a bit of editing goes a long way. Too many people are under the impression that because I have a fancy camera & lens, my job is done. It’s not. Those pictures taken by my fancy schmancy camera are still screaming for help! I want to show my newborn editing workflow. See for yourself why editing takes all that time.  See this gorgeous baby?

newborn editing

I’ll be using her session as its what I’m currently editing. She may be a bad example though because, well…she had beautiful skin to start with. Her skin was clear and even…no jaundice, acne or major redness to reduce. Every baby is different and therefore, every edit is different.

Here is the  straight out of camera (SOOC) shot. This is what I took…completely unedited

unedited newborn image


I tend to over expose (filthy habit). Its ok though, I always shoot in RAW and process my images in Lightroom 4. (Yes, I have the newer version- I’ve just been too lazy to download it). While in LR4, I whip out a couple other tricks (besides adjusting my white balance and exposure) and that brings me to my straight out of RAW (SOOR) version:

soor image newborn


I then take that SOOR image in to PhotoShop where I do additional retouches and viola:

newborn editing

Final Image

Here is a side by side progression of my newborn editing:

newborn editing progression

Left to Right: SOOC, SOOR, Final Edit

Another just for fun:

Look what happens when I placed her on a pink blanket. Yikes! She turned pink. This happens tons especially outside in greenery (think green people!).

SOOC image

SOOC image

A quick edit in LR4:



and then my full edit:

final image

final image

A side by side progression:

newborn editing side by side progression

Left to Right: SOOC, SOOR, Final Edit

I hope that’s helped clients (old and new) understand a bit of what happens afterwards and I hope it reassures and confirms that some things ARE worth the wait.

houston newborn photographer

Info for photogs:

These were taken with a Canon Mark III and 35 mm lens

Get Lightroom & Photoshop CC for $9.99/month

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  • AliNovember 20, 2014 - 12:09 am

    you are so right – she is a beautiful little girl.
    i love your blog, and that you show progressions of images before and after.
    as a for fun photograph taker (definitely not a photographer), its nice to learn from others who know what they are doing. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • NatalieNovember 20, 2014 - 1:14 am

    Such an interesting post! I’m far from a professional photographer, but I do take pictures and edit them for my travel blog–I know that entire process takes a long time, but I can’t imagine doing it for hundreds and hundreds of images in such a short time frame! Photographers are worth every penny of what they charge–those images last a lifetime! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jillian @ Baby Doodah!November 20, 2014 - 1:39 am

    You’re an amazing photographer! That baby is precious, but the way you captured her, even in the SOOC pics, is pretty outstanding. Wish you were local I’d hire you to take some shots of my toddler.

    BTW – This is a great post for those of us not in the photo world. It definitely helped me understand why things can take so long. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • ashleyNovember 20, 2014 - 3:33 am

    These pictures are amazing! What a perfect little baby!ReplyCancel

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Lorena Jean

Newborn, Child, and Maternity
Fine Art Custom Portraiture